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12 Steps to Getting Started with Infrared and Sewer Scans
By Christopher Casey, Monroe Infrared
Here are the 12 essential steps for successfully adding infrared and sewer scan inspections to your list of services.
1. Do your homework! Check with peers (and your competitors) already offering infrared (IR) service and sewer scans. Find out why they started offering the services, how they prepared, what training they attended, how they’re marketing, what they’re charging, which parts of the house and systems they inspect, where they gain access to the sewer line, whether they include IR images in the home inspection report, whether they provide an SD (secure digital) card or YouTube link with the sewer scan video and ultimately what infrared and sewer scans do for their business recognition and revenue growth.
2. Budget for the purchase of professional quality infrared camera ($3k–$7k) and sewer inspection camera ($8k–$10k). Also, budget for a hands-on, industry-recognized infrared certification class: $495 to $1,700 for certification training. Lease purchase options allow home inspectors not flush with cash to amortize the expense and start generating cashflow and growing their businesses right away.
3. Purchase your IR and sewer inspection cameras, follow the extended warranty registrations, camera set up and online camera functions orientation training as recommended.
4. Pick an IR certification class (two-day Certified Residential Thermography, CRT or Level 1 Thermography Certification, four-day), clear your schedule for two–four days. Have all company personnel ATTEND! Multiinspector firms: we strongly recommend all marketing, sales and customer service personnel attend the CRT class as well. Ask for details. We recommend the CRT class first, then Level 1 at a future date—six–12 months later, once the concept is proven and full investment ROI payback is achieved.
5. After certification training and sewer scan orientation training, sit down with your team and script each person’s role in presenting infrared and sewer scans as value-added technology investments to customers and especially to your affinity clients —real estate agents and brokers. One-stop shopping is powerful as you simplify the lives of your agents and their clients who
are already nervous with excitement.
6. Decide how you’re going to market the new & enhanced services and visual inspection capabilities—website, literature, real estate office training sessions (highly recommended for infrared after certification training), emails, on business cards, decals on laptops/ tablets/trucks or shirt patches. Conduct practice inspections for agents with and without IR to demonstrate the powerful
enhancement it offers even the most experienced inspectors. For sewer scans, videotape an inspection that you narrate that can be shared with agents.
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7. For infrared, pick four or five specific items within the home inspection to check (ceiling under 2nd story bathroom & kitchen for split level, basement ceiling under kitchen and 1st floor bathroom sinks and tub, electrical panel, skylights, behind/below clothes washer, radiant floor heat, etc.). For sewer scans, determine your planned method of performing the inspection (cleanout first, if difficult to open or locate then shift to accessing via a roof vent), how you are recording the video, what to include in the beginning or end of the video (view of and/or showing the address of the property on the video is highly advised as well as where the system was accessed).
8. For infrared: raise your home inspection rates $40 to $75 for the inclusion of thermal technology checking those four–five items (your ROI for the IR camera investment & training). Establish a price for a full home infrared inspection (enhanced moisture, etc.), one with a report and one where only infrared images are shared electronically. For sewer scans, determine what you are going to charge for the service. Normal rates vary from $150 to $295 with the average being around $200 per sewer line inspection. Based on your sewer inspection camera capabilities, you may have
an enhanced capability to inspect smaller diameter lines for the homebuyer as well, so you’ll want to consider these additional services, how long they will take, how much you will charge and what finished product, if any, will be provided.
9. Every inspector and sales/marketing person practices both inspection services on their own house and those of family members and neighbors, following your script, including generating IR reports and sewer scan videos. These practice reports provide your initial examples to share with clients who want to “see” what your reports look like, what they include and how they will be of value and beneficial for them to consider as well.
10. Depending upon initial inspector confidence, possibly offer to include IR free of charge for a week or two while gaining full confidence in both your script and the comfortable and confident use
of the camera in front of clients and agents alike. Then raise your rates $40–$75 per inspection and press on!
11. After four–six weeks offering both infrared and sewer scan services, schedule a meeting to review your/everyone’s progress, confidence and status of marketing materials and client feedback. Review what is distributed and to whom, when, how and how often. Always ask for client feedback! They will help you gauge your progress and fine-tune your marketing presentation of the services.
12. The final recommendation is that every inspector use infrared on every inspection. That you offer to demonstrate both the capabilities of the IR and sewer inspection cameras, how they differentiate you from the competition and how they confirm your commitment to staying on the cutting edge of technology. You have earned a professionally recognized certification so you can accurately interpret visual and thermal data captured to provide an even better visual home inspection than the outstanding inspections you were already providing! Continue to develop your marketing materials, including videos for your website. Prepare and start offering/scheduling informational 30–45 minute training presentation sessions for real estate agents and brokers on the added value afforded homebuyers with infrared technology. Agents love to learn more and it gives them another positive hook in the conversation with clients about how current technology is being utilized to uncover potential issues more clearly today than ever before.
Home inspectors provide a great and valuable service to clients. Continue to improve the quality of your services, differentiate yourself from the competition, give clients greater piece of mind and grow your business while embracing current IR and sewer scanning technologies. They are not going away so the sooner you make the decision and plan your implementation, the faster you’ll begin to build technology competence with agents and clients alike!
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About the Author
Christopher Casey is the President of Monroe Infrared, a national provider of Infrared Thermography and sewer scoping products and training. Monroe Infrared is also the exclusive distributor of EasyCAM sewer inspection cameras, which have reliable, durable, cutting edge technology, stronger push cables than the competition & are most importantly: Owner Repairable. Visit www.monroeinfrared.com for more.
Note: The Winter 2019 issue of Working RE Inspector mailed to over 20,000 home inspectors nationwide. OREP Insureds enjoy guaranteed delivery of each print magazine and many more benefits.